Fourth in a Series Profiling Graduates of the Class of 2012

June 7, 2012
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.
Magdalena (Maggie) Zebracka '12 is a psychology major who became more serious about creative writing in the final semester of her junior year, taking Advanced Writing and Non-Fiction courses among others. She received the Johanna Mankiewicz Davis Prize for Prose Fiction from Wellesley.
She is one of three fiction writers out of more than 500 applicants nationwide to be chosen for Vanderbilt University's MFA program in creative writing (where she has been offered a full scholarship and stipend for two years). She was also accepted at the prestigious Trinity College, University of Dublin in creative writing, a program which accepts 12 writers out of an international pool of applicants. Her faculty advisor, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, said, "It is unusual for aspiring writers to get into MFA programs right after graduation from college; usually they need to wait a year or two, get more experience and work harder on their skills before applying successfully. This is a testimony to Magdalena's tremendous talent."

Q&A with Maggie Zebracka


What will you miss most about being a student at Wellesley?

I'll miss the people: friends, professors, staff who made Wellesley into both this wonderful intellectual haven and a home. I'm beginning to realize in a very real way what an irreplicably supportive and open environment I've been afforded these past four years because, apparently, the world out there isn't at all as encouraging.

Where's your favorite place on campus?

The sitting areas behind Tower that overlook the lake are where I like to read or write or lounge about, especially when it's warm. It feels very Wellesley there, all historically picturesque, so it's one of the only places on campus where I don't immediately feel guilty spending an entire afternoon doing not-studying.

How have you changed since you first came to Wellesley?

I remember being very concerned about getting good grades as a first-year—and being a shy thing who thought her world was falling apart over an 87 on a psych exam.. I remember making a tentative four-year plan. My roommate made an actual spreadsheet. (It was, and still is, very impressive, Rebecca!) I had direction; it was just the wrong one, but I was too afraid to go after it, even though all I've ever really wanted to do is write. It's taken four years—22, really—for me to realize that I can allow myself to do what makes me happy even if those around me, even if they're my family, discourage it or think it's unrealistic. My approach to learning has changed as well, from a focus on short-term cramming to thinking about my education as a long-term, life-long sort of process.

What are your plans after graduation? Or what do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?

I'll be getting an MFA in creative writing from Vanderbilt in the next two to three years and maybe an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin after that. Then, a real world job? A lease? A cat? Or maybe that quintessential sign (for me) of having reached adulthood—an actual vacuum cleaner? And, of course, I'll keep writing forever. Perhaps I'll even get something published—that's the plan, anyway.

Is there a particular person or group who's made a difference during your time here?

The entire creative writing department. Marilyn Sides, Colin Channer, Adam Schwartz, Hilton Als. Without whom I very likely would not be the sort of writer, thinker, person I am as a senior on the cusp of commencement and beyond. Especially Margaret Cezair-Thompson, who serendipitously allowed me to take her fiction class and constantly pushed me to be better. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t.